Copyright 2005 David Frey
Last week I received a very nice thank you gift from a friend of mine, Eric Ruth, who is arguably number one marketing coach to personal fitness trainer industry.
Eric, asked if he could interview me about a specific topic and I agreed.
After it was done, Eric sent me a bunch of filet mignon steaks from Omaha Steaks (Thanks Eric).
But steaks are not what this article is about.
It's what was inside Omaha Steaks box that I want to talk to you about.
You see, two things came with steaks. One was a Omaha Steaks cookbook.
The cookbook not only contained recipes but also a bunch of bounceback special offers.
Each of these offers were specifically designed to get you to call Omaha Steaks up and order more steaks.
And Here Was Second Thing that Was In Omaha Steaks Box...
The second thing was a blue envelope that said, "Don't Miss Out - Special Offers from Americas Favorite Companies."
Here's what they looked like:
The contents of blue envelope included what is known in marketing industry as, "package insert."
Package Inserts 101 _____________________
Package inserts are basically advertisements that get inserted into packages that are being sent out from various vendors.
For instance, in this case, Omaha Steaks sends thousands of boxes to its customers. It sells space in its boxes to other companies who want to advertise to Omaha Steaks customers. This is called a "Package Insert Program" or PIP for short.
There are thousands of PIP program offered by many companies. Here are just a sampling of type of companies that provide PIP programs:
Global Industrial Equipment
Mantis Gardening Tools
Zoysia Grass Plugs
If profile of your target customer matches profile of customers that these companies sell to then you might consider a PIP advertising program with them.
The going rate for package inserts averages around $60 per thousand packages. What this means is that you pay $60 and your insert will be sent out with 1,000 packages.
This relatively cheap when you consider that renting a list for a solo mailing might cost anywhere from $100 to $250 per thousand names.
On other hand, response rates for inserts are much lower than direct mail. An acceptable response rate used for PIP programs are typically measured in tenths of a percent vs. 2-5 percent return of solo direct mailings.
The number of inserts in a package can vary from four to eight. Generally, only non-competitive pieces are included together in one package.
Here's a photo of inserts that came in Omaha Steaks package I received.
As you can see, there are only three inserts from these companies:
1. Hawthorne Village (model trains)
2. Discover (credit cards)
3. Select Comfort (beds)
Here's Why You Should Consider Using a PIP Advertising Program in Your Marketing Mix
1. You get power of direct mail at about 20% of what you'd normally pay for a direct mail campaign.
2. You can target specific niche markets and consumer segments.
3. You can target people by way that they buy (i.e. mail order buyers, phone order buyers, television order buyer etc.).
4. You get category exclusivity in mailing (i.e. no competing offers to worry about).
5. Your offer gets an implied endorsement from company mailing package.
I'm not saying that you should base your entire marketing program on insert media. What I'm saying is that using inserts can be a good compliment to how you're already advertising your product or service.
With shrinking list market, package inserts are a good alternative way to prospect for qualified leads. It's hard for companies, I think, to rule it out. ______________________________________________________
Here's a Few Tips to Get Most Out of PIP Programs ______________________________________________________
Tip # 1
Be very careful of how you pick a PIP program. It's much like picking a mailing list. You have to pick a PIP program that is reaching people who are good prospects for your product or service.
Make sure you set aside some time to sit with your broker to identify characteristics of programs that work. Then find plans that share these characteristics, and put a plan in place to test them.